About Zero Boys
Four heartland teens who'd learned about punk in Creem magazine, then doubled tempos when hardcore vinyl started filtering inland from the coasts, the Zero Boys were shining lights of a rarely acknowledged early '80s southern Indiana indie scene (best documented on the 1981 compilation Red Snerts, where they're surrounded by such wild-eyed fellow travelers as the Panics and the Jetsons). Somehow, the remote locale helped these bands retain the swing, zing and goofiness of new wave even as their velocity sped past the breaking point. The Zero Boys debuted in 1981 with the self-released Livin' in the '80s EP -- five songs about being bored and stoned in the Midwest, versed in the greaser punch of the Dead Boys and the Dictators, if lacking the chops to pull it off. But by 1982's delirious Vicious Circle, they'd found those chops. While hardcore often tends to drain punk's rock 'n' roll juice, these brats only got catchier and more coherent as they stepped on the gas. On subsequent releases, lineup changes and accumulated musicianship inevitably steered them toward metal. But they never quite matched the exuberance of their moment in the slam-dance sun.